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3 Cs of Design - Charters, Critique, and Culture - Amuse Conference

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I’ve worked for a lot of idiot managers in my career. And then, one day, after I had become a design manager myself, it finally dawned on me: Now I’m the idiot! I had a lot of ideas about what a good manager is, how one acts, and the exact positioning of where the spotlight should land on the hero, which was absolutely supposed to be me. Thanks, ego.

Heroically speaking, I failed on many, many levels. I didn’t understand how to understand a team, and help turn their perceptions and expectations into something shared and agreed upon. I didn’t understand how to foster critique; I only knew that I was in charge of design and that I had the final say. Most of my career has been an exercise in “trial by fire” and this process worked well when I was a designer and was trying to master the art of the task flow, site map, wireframe, prototype, personas, and so on. In leadership positions, the option to go back to the drawing board or to iterate hasn't always been readily available--nor as painless to my pride and potentially my pocketbook.

The passing of time, the second and third chances that I’ve been given, and the sound advice that I didn’t want to listen to in the past have opened me up to a much different perspective. Oh, I’ve still got plenty to learn, and I’m excited to share some of what I’ve learned about charters, critique, and culture of design organizations.

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3 Cs of Design - Charters, Critique, and Culture - Amuse Conference

  1. 1. RussUnger | @russu|GECapitalAmericas The 3 C’s of Design Russ Unger | @russu Charters, Critique, & Culture
  2. 2. Russ Unger | @russu Source: Justice League War
  3. 3. RussUnger | @russu|GECapitalAmericas EVERY NEW LEADER, EVER: Russ Unger | @russu Where’s the Manual? (Almost)
  4. 4. RussUnger | @russu|GECapitalAmericas
  5. 5. Russ Unger | @russu Source: Justice League War
  6. 6. Russ Unger | @russu Therearenogrown-ups.Wesuspectthiswhenweare younger,butcanconfirmitonlyoncewearetheoneswriting booksandattendingparent-teacherconferences. Everyoneiswingingit,somejustdoitmoreconfidently. “ Pamela Druckerman Source: NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/01/opinion/sunday/what-you-learn-in-your-40s.html
  7. 7. Russ Unger | @russu Therearenomanagers.Wesuspectthiswhenweare younger,butcanconfirmitonlyoncewearetheoneswriting reviews,SOWs,slidedecksandattendingleadershipretreats. Everyoneiswingingit,somejustdoitmoreconfidently.Everyoneiswingingit,somejustdoitmoreconfidently. Source: NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/01/opinion/sunday/what-you-learn-in-your-40s.html “ Pamela Druckerman(& Russ)
  8. 8. RussUnger | @russu|GECapitalAmericas THE TEAM CHARTER
  9. 9. Russ Unger | @russu What is a Team Charter? Aunifyingplanthatateamagreestoasitsrulesof engagementandgoalsandobjectives. “
  10. 10. Russ Unger | @russu OUR UX TEAM You can count on me. No matter what you do. You can count on me. No matter where you go. I'm standing by your side. I'll be right behind. No one loves you more than I do, Put your hand in mine. I can see a part of me in you. A little something special that comes shining through. I hear it in your laughter, And I feel it when you cry, I will be right there for you, Until the day I die. You can count on me. No matter what you do. You can count on me. No matter where you go. You can count on me. TEAM PURPOSE COMMITMENTS TEAM FOCUS •User Research •Interaction Design •Information Architecture •Information Design •Prototyping •Usability Testing AREAS OF GROWTH You can count on me. No matter what you do. You can count on me. No matter where you go. I'm standing by your side. I'll be right behind. No one loves you more than I do, Put your hand in mine. PERCEPTION OF TEAM You can count on me. No matter what you do. You can count on me. No matter where you go. I'm standing by your side. I'll be right behind. No one loves you more than I do, Put your hand in mine. Image Source © Time Inc. It’s Like a Persona. For Your Team.
  11. 11. Russ Unger | @russu It Requires A Lot of This
  12. 12. Russ Unger | @russu It Involves Defining All of This…
  13. 13. Russ Unger | @russu Focus Areas • WhataretheTypesof WorkWe DONOTDo/DoNOTWantto Do? • WhataretheTypesof Work WeDo/WanttoDo? • User Research • Interaction Design • Information Architecture • Information Design • Prototyping • Usability Testing WHAT WE DO
  14. 14. Russ Unger | @russu Team Purpose • Whatdoesthisteamdo? • Whatarewegoodat? • Whatshouldwebeknownfor? The UX team works with our customers to create useful and usable designs that meets the needs of our users and serves the business goals and objectives. We understand our users--their needs, behaviors and motivations and provide insight into how they use the products that we design. OUR UX TEAM
  15. 15. Russ Unger | @russu Team Commitment to Each Other • HowDoWeWanttoWork Together? • WhatAreOurExpectationsof EachOther? The UX team works with our customers to create useful and usable designs that meets the needs of our users and serves the business goals and objectives. We understand our users--their needs, behaviors and motivations and provide insight into how they use the products that we design. We work with each other to share our knowledge and grow and strengthen the team in all aspects of UX, and beyond. We acknowledge and respect our peers, their opinions, and the value of their work. We will be critical of work product, yet not the person doing the work. OUR UX TEAM
  16. 16. Russ Unger | @russu Perception of the Team by Others • HowDoWeWantOthersto ViewOurTeam? • HowDoWeBuildthis Perception? • HowDoWeKnowWe’re There? Experts About Our Users PERCEPTION HOW TO CREATE ACHIEVED BY •Increase research activities •Identify opportunities to build usability testing awareness and activities •Including clients in the user- related activities to show them our process and expose them to users more frequently •Increase the amount of client collaboration that includes user discussions •Common theme/voice for UX team •Colleagues request our expertise in speaking to customers •Colleagues and customers recommend the UX Team’s expertise to our colleagues and customers
  17. 17. Russ Unger | @russu Areas of Growth / Improvement • WhereDoWeNeedMore Experience? • WhatistheRationaleforthe Need? • HowWillWeKnowWhen We’veAchievedtheGrowth? Experience Mapping GROWTH AREA RATIONALE ACHIEVED BY •Gets everyone involved in identifying touchpoints •Visually describes what the user’s journey looks like •Tell stories and craft narratives from the user’s point of view •Orient teams around a shared understanding of the journey •Expand on scenarios, personas, and mental models •Engaging in 1-3 Experience Mapping activities this year •Proving value through the activities by stakeholder approvals
  18. 18. Russ Unger | @russu …And Then You Sign It. WeAllAgreetoAllofThis! AGREED UPON BY
  19. 19. Russ Unger | @russu OUR UX TEAM You can count on me. No matter what you do. You can count on me. No matter where you go. I'm standing by your side. I'll be right behind. No one loves you more than I do, Put your hand in mine. I can see a part of me in you. A little something special that comes shining through. I hear it in your laughter, And I feel it when you cry, I will be right there for you, Until the day I die. You can count on me. No matter what you do. You can count on me. No matter where you go. You can count on me. TEAM PURPOSE COMMITMENTS TEAM FOCUS •User Research •Interaction Design •Information Architecture •Information Design •Prototyping •Usability Testing AREAS OF GROWTH You can count on me. No matter what you do. You can count on me. No matter where you go. I'm standing by your side. I'll be right behind. No one loves you more than I do, Put your hand in mine. PERCEPTION OF TEAM You can count on me. No matter what you do. You can count on me. No matter where you go. I'm standing by your side. I'll be right behind. No one loves you more than I do, Put your hand in mine. Image Source © Time Inc. It’s Like a Persona. For Your Team.
  20. 20. Russ Unger | @russu It’s Like a Persona. For Your Team. Photos Courtesy of Boon Chew
  21. 21. Russ Unger | @russu It Can Look Like This
  22. 22. Russ Unger | @russu Which Is All of This • User Research • Interaction Design • Information Architecture • Information Design • Prototyping • Usability Testing WHAT WE DO The UX team works with our customers to create useful and usable designs that meets the needs of our users and serves the business goals and objectives. We understand our users--their needs, behaviors and motivations and provide insight into how they use the products that we design. We work with each other to share our knowledge and grow and strengthen the team in all aspects of UX, and beyond. We acknowledge and respect our peers, their opinions, and the value of their work. We will be critical of work product, yet not the person doing the work. OUR UX TEAM Experts About Our Users PERCEPTION HOW TO CREATE ACHIEVED BY •Increase research activities •Identify opportunities to build usability testing awareness and activities •Including clients in the user- related activities to show them our process and expose them to users more frequently •Increase the amount of client collaboration that includes user discussions •Common theme/voice for UX team •Colleagues request our expertise in speaking to customers •Colleagues and customers recommend the UX Team’s expertise to our colleagues and customers Experience Mapping GROWTH AREA RATIONALE ACHIEVED BY •Gets everyone involved in identifying touchpoints •Visually describes what the user’s journey looks like •Tell stories and craft narratives from the user’s point of view •Orient teams around a shared understanding of the journey •Expand on scenarios, personas, and mental models •Engaging in 1-3 Experience Mapping activities this year •Proving value through the activities by stakeholder approvals
  23. 23. Russ Unger | @russu And, You Can Do It, Too http://www.slideshare.net/runger/design-culture-basics-creating-your-team-charter-interaction-south-america-2015
  24. 24. Russ Unger | @russu Recap: Benefits of A Team Charter • IdentifiesYourTeam’sPurpose • DefinestheTeamCommitmenttoEachOther • ClearlyArticulatesAreasof Focus&Expertise • AcknowledgesAreasof Growth/Improvement • ExplainsHowtheTeamWantstobePerceived • ProvidesUnifiedAgreement UX ^
  25. 25. RussUnger | @russu|GECapitalAmericas CRITIQUE Image Source © Time Inc.
  26. 26. Russ Unger | @russu New to Critique? Start Here. Aaron Irizarry & Adam Connor DiscussingDesign.com
  27. 27. Russ Unger | @russu The Problem Me Howdowemakecritiqueapartof ourculture,asaformalizedprocess?
  28. 28. Russ Unger | @russu Eachoneteachone. “ Kim Goodwin many
  29. 29. Russ Unger | @russuRuss Unger | @russu Critique Buddies WTF are ? (Now calling it “Continuous Critique”)
  30. 30. Russ Unger | @russu The Setup L BBB L BBB M • Select“CritiqueLeads” • NominateCritiqueLeads • SelectTeamsof 3-4Buddies • LeadsChoose“Teams” • FocusonConnectingPeople WhoDon’tNormallyWork Together 2-3
  31. 31. Russ Unger | @russu How It Works • (Bi-)Weekly30minutemeetingswithCritiqueLeads& Buddies • Adhocmeetingsasneededandasavailable • Critiqueshouldworkbothways • (Bi-)WeeklyCritiqueTeamMeetings • All3-4membersmeetingatonceforgroup
 critique B B B L T L B B B L T L
  32. 32. Russ Unger | @russu 1:1 Meetings • Startsveryinformally • Gettoknoweachother • Reviewof what’sbeingworkedon,etc. • DrivenbytheCritiqueLead
  33. 33. Russ Unger | @russu 1:1 Meetings • Shiftsto (slightly)formal • Agendas,morestructured pitch/presentation • LedbytheCritiqueBuddy
  34. 34. Russ Unger | @russu Critique Group Meetings • CritiqueLeadsSchedule • HappensBi-Weekly-ish • TeamMembersSign-upfor
 10-minutetimeslots • Anythingrequiringadditional
 canbecoveredin1:1meetings Image Source: https://www.andertoons.com/phone/cartoon/3122/were-playing-teleconference
  35. 35. Russ Unger | @russu All-Team Critique Meetings • …Stillkindof workingonthis:-) • EntireDesignTeamParticipates • WillLetYouKnowHowItGoes!
  36. 36. Russ Unger | @russu Leader Meetings • Reportsonprogressof theteam • Creates&updates“CritiqueManual/ Guide”forteam • ModifiestheCritiqueBuddyprogram baseduponlearning • SelectsnextCritiqueLeads(Quarterly)
  37. 37. Russ Unger | @russuRuss Unger | @russu That’s It! Image Source © Time Inc.
  38. 38. Russ Unger | @russu Benefits • Freesyourtimeasprimaryreviewerof alldesign • Identifiesleadersandleadershipinyourteam • Uncoversgrowthandtraining/learningneeds • Strengthenscritiqueabilitiesacrosstheteam • Increasesdistributedteamcommunication&interaction • Improvesfacilitation&presentationskills • Improvesdesignacrosstheteam
  39. 39. RussUnger | @russu|GECapitalAmericas CULTURE
  40. 40. Russ Unger | @russu Discourage Heroic Efforts
  41. 41. Russ Unger | @russu Raising Your Hand is a Sign of Strength
  42. 42. Russ Unger | @russu Work Hard. Play Hard. Bull Crap.
  43. 43. Russ Unger | @russu NO.
  44. 44. Russ Unger | @russu Set People Up for Success
  45. 45. Russ Unger | @russu Hack the Org Chart
  46. 46. Russ Unger | @russu Big,GrandRevealsareforAmateurs. “ Mitigate Design Surprises Andadvertisingagencies.
  47. 47. Russ Unger | @russu Lighten Up
  48. 48. Russ Unger | @russu S l o w D o w n .
  49. 49. Russ Unger | @russuSource: https://signalvnoise.com/posts/3124-give-it-five-minutes Give It 5 Minutes
  50. 50. Russ Unger | @russu 5 Years Whenyoufindyourself stressed,askyourself onequestion: Willthismatterfiveyearsfromnow? If yes,thendosomethingaboutthesituation. If no,thenletitgo. “ Catherine Pulsifer
  51. 51. Russ Unger | @russu
  52. 52. Russ Unger | @russu Servant Leadership !☔
  53. 53. RussUnger | @russu|GECapitalAmericas SO WHAT?
  54. 54. Russ Unger | @russu • TeamCharter • Critique • Facilitation • Collaboration • Culture My Key Take Aways Non-Technical / Non-Design Skills! LIFE
  55. 55. Russ Unger | @russu Source: Justice League War
  56. 56. Russ Unger | @russu Everyone Else Aleaderisbestwhenpeoplebarelyknowshe exists,whenherworkisdone,heraimfulfilled,they willsay: Wediditourselves. “ Lao Tzu
  57. 57. Russ Unger | @russu • TeamCharter • Critique • Facilitation • Collaboration • Culture My Key Take Aways • Bonus#1:LeadershipisMoreAboutYourTeamthanAboutYou • Bonus#2:Keeponwingingit.Confidently.
  58. 58. Russ Unger | @russu Thank you!

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